The Modes of Persuasion i. "Since pisteis come about through these three means, it is clear that to grasp an understanding of them is the function of one who can reason logically and be observant about characters and virtues and, third, about emotions." (Aristotle, On Rhetoric. 1.2.7) ii. These are the three large scale elements in any persuasive writing (or speaking). If you can address each of these elements when you are writing a persuasive essay, you will be off to a good start.
The Modes of Persuasion i. Logos ii. Pathos iii. Ethos
Logos i. "Persuasion occurs through the arguments [logoi] when we show the truth or the apparent truth from whatever is persuasive in each case." (1.2.6) ii. Heraclitus (535-475 BCE) established the term in Western philosophy as meaning both the source and fundamental order of the cosmos. Pretty cool huh? iii. refers to the internal consistency of the message-- the clarity of the claim, the logic of its reasons, and the effectiveness of its supporting evidence. The impact of logos on an audience is sometimes called the argument's logical appeal.
Pathos i. "There is persuasion through the hearers when they are led to feel emotion [pathos] by the speech; for we do not give the same judgement when grieved and rejoicing or when being friendly and hostile." (1.2.5) ii. Pathos (Greek for 'suffering' or 'experience') is often associated with emotional appeal. But a better equivalent might be 'appeal to the audience's sympathies and imagination.' An appeal to pathos causes an audience not just to respond emotionally but to identify with the writer's point of view--to feel what the writer feels.
Ethos i. "There is persuasion through character whenever the speech is spoken [or written] in such a way as to make the speaker worthy of credence; for we believe fair minded people to a greater extent and more quickly than we do others..." (1.2.4) ii. Ethos (Greek for 'character') refers to the trustworthiness or credibility of the writer or speaker. Ethos is often conveyed through tone and style of the message and through the way the writer or speaker refers to differing views. It can also be affected by the writer's reputation as it exists independently from the message--his or her expertise in the field, his or her previous record or integrity, and so forth. The impact of ethos is often called the argument's 'ethical appeal' or the 'appeal from credibility.'
Now You Know! When writing a persuasive essay, always keep logos, pathos, and ethos in mind and you will go far!